Toddler poncho and bonnet

This is a Susan Mills pattern released in 2004 when she was designing for Artful Yarns. It’s  called Virtue Poncho #92120. Virtue, now discontinued, was a 100% cashmere worsted weight yarn. Isn’t it the height of decadence to think of cashmere for a child’s garment?  I didn’t knit mine in any form of cashmere. This is Cascade’s 220 Superwash Quatro in the Chocolate Tweed colorway. A child can eat a nice drippy ice cream cone wearing this and all a parent needs to do is throw it in the washing machine and then throw it in the dryer.

I made a few modifications on the poncho, including knitting it in the round instead of in halves. I put a stitch marker at the start and mid-point of the round and knit the decreases just as the pattern called for. I decided to work on straight needles until I got through the ruffle.  With more than 500 stitches cast on, I didn’t want to risk the dreaded mobius twist. And when I got to about 10 rows left in the poncho, I worked straight, just using the same circular needles but turning at the midpoint where the neckline is needed. The pattern calls for sewing the front seam to about one inch from the collar. I thought that might look kind of ragged and fretted that the stockinette might curl, so I worked 5 stitches in garter stitch at one edge, then cast on another 5 at the other edge, and basically knitted a garter stitch placket.

Except for casting on 500 stitches, the ruffle was the most fun. Those stitches disappear superfast with decreases upon decreases and out pops the beautiful ruffle.

It can be such fun to knit small stuff in surprisingly unbaby-like colors.

Belted Kingfisher fishing

Steve captured a wonderful sequence of photos of this Belted Kingfisher fishing in Ghost Bay. The Kingfisher mouthed its distinctive rattlle call to announce each dive. Actually, it didn’t seem to catch much, but what a treat to watch!

Steve has permitted me to use this sequence, even though he’s not satisfied with the quality of the photos. Me? I think they are great. They also remind me of a beautiful paddle on a peaceful sunny morning when this creature acted like itself and as if it was OK that I am part of its world.


Baby bolero

When knitting gives you lemons, you (try) to make lemonade. This is Debbie Bliss‘s Baby Bolero, knit in her baby cashmerino. It is the cover item on her Baby Cashmerino 2 booklet. Many a Raveler has been tempted to knit this, possibly not noticing that knitting a stockinette shrug with increases and decreases at the edge and then being asked to knit 2 long borders of eight stitches (with increases up toward the neck) “until border, when slightly stretched, fits from center of lower back edge, along lower edge of front, round front edge to begininning of neck shaping, sewing in place as you work” is not going to be a piece ‘o cake. Just about everyone who knits this ends up with a sloppy mess where the band joins the shrug, especially along the bottom curves and back where there is no bordering set of decreases to butt the band up to.

Forewarned, I decided to knit this shrug anyway. I even decided to use baby cashmerino, a yarn a friend of mine says will soon have “more pills than a pharmacy.” My idea was to pick up stitches all around the edge of the bolero and then knit the border on. I still think it should have been a good idea. It did avoid the sewing. It did avoid what some find to be the border’s unfortunate tendency to curl forward or, for some, curl backward. I would have thought it would avoid the dreaded untidy seam. What I didn’t expect was that picking up stitches in this fabric would create very unpleasant holes, especially along the curves.  Really, when I was done it looked like a road filled with potholes needing cold-patching.

I first tried to salvage this by using my rudimentary crochet skills. I tried to apply a chain of sort-of-crochet along the edge to cover up the holes. It looked, well, really bad. I think a better crocheter could have figured out a proper stitch to work along the edges. Someone with good embroidery skills (not me) could have also come up with a nice save. I ended up crocheting a chain and threading it in and out of the assortment of holes, adding a few new ones along the way to keep the spacing fairly even. I feel like I salvaged the garment. Probably just until the first wash, though. Not a very satisfactory project. Next time I will trust the collective wisdom of Ravelers.

Foggy morning

We set out across Long Lake in very thick fog about 7:30 in the morning. Steve’s kayak has a compass on it and we crossed the lake in fog so thick you couldn’t tell the water from the sky. Kind of creepy. I figured not even the fishermen would be out this morning, but I was wrong. As we left Ghost Bay, the fog had started to burn off and Steve captured fishing at its most peaceful.